Teresa Paiva gave a lecture entitled “Sleep, Survival and Health” on World Health Day, which was held on 7 April as part of an initiative of the Municipality of Figueiró dos Vinhos. In the Room of Culture of the municipality, before a diverse audience, the neurologist and sleep specialist began to describe sleep as “a state of partial immobility during which we are partially ‘disconnected’ from the environment around us”, adding that in this state “the brain is active and will oscillate between two operating modes, the slow sleep and paradoxal sleep”.
Teresa Paiva spoke about the harm caused by little sleep, referring humorously to the so-called “sleep thieves” which take away a great deal of rest time, such as the use of “computer, cell phone, search engines and social networks”. Insomnia, a pressing health problem affecting thousands of Portuguese, was the main focus of the specialist’s intervention, who said that “insomniac events are different every time”. “The variability of insomnia complaints are varied, such as difficulty falling asleep, in maintaining sleep, waking up too early, waking up tired, having a sense of non-restorative sleep and difficulty concentrating or poor memory during the day”, she explained.
Regarding the treatment of insomnia, she noted that it depends on the underlying causes, adding that “the non-specific prescription hypnotics is contraindicated”. “It is necessary to enhance sleep hygiene rules involving time and duration of sleep, good nutrition and adequate exercise,” she said. In a more specific field of sleep medicine, the expert raised the issue of parasomnias, “a very diverse set of abnormal behaviors that occur during sleep” and involve, for example, “confusional arousals, night terrors, sleepwalking, nightmares, sleep paralysis and enuresis”.